Pubdate: Mon, 04 Jan 2016
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Jenny Yuen
Page: 13


Keep Weed Away From Schools, Candidate Urges

TORONTO - Selling marijuana at LCBO stores is a dangerous equation 
for children, insists a trustee candidate for Ward 21.

Holding a clipboard and pen, parent Sharon Kerr knocked on doors in 
the Old Finch Ave. area on Sunday as part of her effort to get 1,000 
signatures in two weeks on a petition which tells the province to 
prohibit pot sales at LCBO stores within 500 metres of Toronto's schools.

"In speaking to parents, (they) aren't interested in having pot sold 
anywhere near schools," she said. "It's going to go to wherever it 
needs to go to get it stopped, including the province or municipally. 
We don't need to be challenged with kids being high."

In mid-December, Premier Kathleen Wynne said "it makes a lot of 
sense" to rely on the LCBO, which Sharon Kerr is getting people in 
her area of Scarborough to sign a petition to ensure no LCBO outlets 
are within 500 metres of a school if they end up selling marijuana as 
proposed by Premier Kathleen Wynne, Sunday. operates more than 600 
stores across Ontario, to sell marijuana after the federal government 
legalizes the sale of the drug.

Kerr is running in a Jan. 25 byelection to replace former Toronto 
District School Board trustee Shaun Chen, who won a seat as a Liberal 
MP in the last federal election.

Kerr said she believes allowing legal pot to be sold near schools 
would influence usage among elementary and high school kids. She is 
also afraid that if booze can be sold in cafes and restaurants, 
marijuana may be as well.

"I'm sure no one will sell to minors, but who is there to stop those 
who are motivated to get (fake) IDs? I can tell you certain schools 
within the (Toronto District School Board) where students come to 
school drunk. Why open it up to this platform?"

Ida Lai, 62, a grandparent who signed the petition, said "no one 
wants second-hand smoke. I like the mostly what the new government is 
doing, but this is the one thing I can't stand. We spend a lot of 
time teaching kids when they're young to not smoke and now marijuana 
is everywhere."

Jennifer Beaudry, a spokesman for Premier Kathleen Wynne, noted Wynne 
addressed the issue in December.

"We need to talk about what we are comfortable with as a society in 
terms of the distribution of this new substance," Wynne said at the 
time. "I think leaving it to random distribution is not acceptable. I 
think that it is going to be controlled in some way. And I will wait 
for the federal government's direction on that."

Keerthana Kamalavasan, spokesman for Mayor John Tory, said the city 
will wait to hear from the province.

"When the federal government's process begins on the legalization and 
regulation of marijuana, the mayor believes the City of Toronto 
should and will be consulted."


Talking Pot

What people are saying about the proposed LCBO plan:

Warren "Smokey" Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service 
Employees Union (OPSEU) - which represents LCBO employees - said the 
most socially responsible place to sell legal marijuana would be 
through the government-owned liquor retail chain. "If legalization 
happens, marijuana must be a controlled substance, and no one has 
more experience retailing controlled substances than the workers at 
the LCBO," Thomas said. "The LCBO has a solid track record of 
responsibly selling alcohol and would bring the same service standard 
to marijuana."

Premier Kathleen Wynne: "It makes sense to me that the liquor 
distribution mechanism that we have in place - the LCBO - is very 
well-suited to putting in place the social responsibility aspects 
that would need to be in place ... Obviously, I don't know what the 
timeline is with the federal government, but it seems to me that 
using that distribution network of the LCBO ... I think that that 
makes a lot of sense."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the existing justice system for 
marijuana does not work. He also couldn't specify an exact timeline 
of how the federal government would be controlling and taxing the drug.

"It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many 
Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts 
of the drug," according to the federal Liberal party. "To ensure that 
we keep marijuana out of the hands of children, and the profits out 
of the hands of criminals, we will legalize, regulate, and restrict 
access to marijuana."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom